Are you ready to come home? After months of planning, we are almost ready to go live with ticket sales. Tickets will go on sale Sunday, March 4. More details regarding pricing, accommodations, itinerary, meals and entertainment will be posted later this week. The best way to keep up with all the details is to like the Facebook page by clicking here and make sure to edit notifications to receive “standard” posts and not just highlights. Another way is to join the Facebook group by clicking here. We hope to see you at A Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming!
Christmas is over! All the scurrying and preparations are over and I can now re-focus on all things Outlander! Yay! I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful holiday! I certainly did! I ate too much and now need my stretchy pants! The first of the year will bring many new things for the blog plus a diet for me. Fun on the former; not so much fun on the latter! However, I refuse to think about diet until the first of the year so, for now, let’s jump back to the subject of this post.
I get daily emails from “This Day in North Carolina History”. This morning’s email included an article about explorer John Lawson who on December 28, 1700, began his journey to the backcountry of North Carolina. He started out from Charleston, South Carolina with five Englishmen and several Indian guides and crossed over into what is now North Carolina (near the present-day Charlotte area) in late January, 1701. As he traveled through the Carolina backcountry, he journaled and recorded his observations in what became his book, “A New Voyage to Carolina“, which was published in 1709. It is also known by the titles of “The History of Carolina” and “Lawson’s History of Carolina“.
The email made me think about the book Jamie had with him and referred to in Drums of Autumn but I couldn’t remember the specifics. Since inquiring minds have to know, I pulled out my trusty Kindle and searched “History of Carolina”, remembering vaguely that Jamie had told Claire the name of the book he was reading. Sure enough, the search garnered three results but it wasn’t at all what I expected – which sent me on another research expedition. Here are my findings.
The book mentioned in Drums of Autumn by Jamie is “The Natural History of North Carolina” and the author named in the book is Bricknell.
He held a book in his hand, thumb between the pages to hold his place, and now bent his head to consult the volume.
“I believe it is an alligator. They dine upon carrion, it says here, and willna eat fresh meat. When they take a man or a sheep, they pull the victim beneath the water to drown it, but then drag it to their den below ground and leave it there until it has rotted enough to suit their fancy. Of course,” he added, with a bleak glance at the bank, “they’re sometimes fortunate enough to find a meal prepared.”
The figure on the stake seemed to tremble briefly, as something bumped it from below, and Ian made a small choking noise beside me.
“Where did you get that book?” I asked, not taking my eyes off the stake. The top of the wooden pole was vibrating, as though something under the waves was worrying at it. Then the pole was still, and the V-shaped wake could be seen again, traveling back toward the riverbank. I turned away before it could emerge.
Jamie handed me the book, his eyes still fixed on the black mudflat and its cloud of screeching birds.
“The Governor gave it to me. He said he thought it might be of interest on our journey.”
I glanced down at the book. Bound in plain buckram, the title was stamped on the spine in gold leaf—The Natural History of North Carolina.
(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 8, Diana Gabaldon)
At the moment, he possessed one book—The Natural History of North Carolina, published 1733, brought along as guide and reference.
(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 19, Diana Gabaldon)
“Mmphm.” Jamie reached out a hand and patted absently around on the table, searching for the bread plate. His attention was wholly focused on the book he was reading, Bricknell’s Natural History of North Carolina. “Here it is,” he said. “I knew I’d seen a bit about rattlesnakes.” Locating the bread by feel, he took a piece and used it to scoop a healthy portion of egg into his mouth. Having engulfed this, he read aloud, holding the book in one hand while groping over the tabletop with the other.
“ ‘The Indians frequently pull out the snakes’ Teeth, so that they never afterwards can do any Mischief by biting; this may be easily done, by tying a bit of red Wollen Cloth to the upper end of a long hollow Cane, and so provoking the Rattle-Snake to bite, and suddenly pulling it away from him, by which means the Teeth stick fast in the Cloath, which are plainly to be seen by those present.’ ”
(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 25, Diana Gabaldon)
Well, that’s quite odd I said to myself. Maybe there were two explorers who wrote two similar books. We all know Diana does her research! So, I googled Bricknell’s “The Natural History of North Carolina” and found a book by that title by one John Brickell, M.D. who was a native of Ireland. He explored and lived in North Carolina beginning in 1724 through at least 1731 and practiced medicine in Edenton, North Carolina (another Outlander location) from about 1730 to 1731. His book was published in Dublin in 1737 after his return to Ireland.
So, you say, what’s the big deal with John Brickell? Well, it is widely acknowledged by most history buffs that close to 85 percent of his book “The Natural History of North Carolina” was plagiarized from John Lawson’s “A New Voyage to Carolina”. In fact, whole sections of Lawson’s book were lifted out and copied word for word by Brickell. So, if Diana’s Bricknell is history’s own real-life Brickell, the words Jamie was reading and the information he was gleaning were actually from John Lawson who started his exploration of the North Carolina backcountry exactly 317 years ago today!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick lesson from Today in Outlander North Carolina history. What do you think? Could the real life Brickell be the inspiration for Diana’s Bricknell? I vote yes!
For more information on John Lawson and John Brickell, click on the links below and, as always, thank you for reading Outlander North Carolina!
I am 39 years old (and holding). Some of my friends and family say there is no Fraser’s Ridge. I told them “If I see it on Outlander North Carolina, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Fraser’s Ridge?
– Virginia B. Fashing
1767 Drums of Autumn Road Fourth Season, North Carolina
Oh, dear Virginia! I am so glad you wrote to me before you slipped into disbelief. Dinna fash yourself! Your friends & family sound most pitiful and have most likely been affected by some sort of weird reality check disorder. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds – minds which have not been exposed to Outlander, then Droughtlander, then Outlander, then Drou…. pardon me, I digress. All minds, Virginia, are not like the minds of those of us who have read the Outlander books and have watched the TV series. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect – which suddenly reminds me of Arch & Murdina Bug for some unknown reason. Let’s see, what was I saying? Oh yes! I think I was saying man is a bug but I have no idea why? Please disregard all of that!
Yes, Virginia, there is a Fraser’s Ridge. It exists as certainly as Craig Na Dun, Castle Leoch and Lallybroch exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Fraser’s Ridge. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia’s. As awful as if there were no Jamie and Claire. As dreadful as if there were no Young Ian, Rollo, Fergus and Marsali. As horrible as if there were no Roger or Brianna. As terrifying as if there were no Lizzie and the Beardsley twins, Stephen Bonnet or Tom & Malva Christie! No, there would be nothing to look forward to, nothing to re-read and re-watch! There would be no Facebook groups, no Twitter & Instagram feeds, no blog articles and no NSFW videos to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. And although the sight of Jamie in that kilt could get us by for quite a while, in the end and at last, the light with which the Outlander fandom fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Fraser’s Ridge! You might as well not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies or time travel! You might scout out the path to Fraser’s Ridge, but even if you don’t find the cabin, the Big House, Clarence, Adso and The White Sow, what would that prove? Nothing, Virginia dear! Nothing!!! Nobody sees Fraser’s Ridge, but that is no sign that there is no Fraser’s Ridge! (The Tooth Fairy & The Easter Bunny are other fine examples.) Geez, Virginia!! The most real things in the world are those we cannot see, you clotheid!!! Did you ever see druids dancing on a hill? Well, of course, you have and though others may not have seen them, that’s no proof that they are not there!!! How dare you even question such a thing?!?! Ahem. Please forgive me. I apologize, Virginia. I forgot my medication this morning and am somewhat irritable….in fact, where ARE my meds?!?!
You may tear apart Jem’s toy car to see what makes it roll, but then Roger would get really mad with you! Oh my, where did that come from? Look, Virginia, what I meant to say is that there is a veil covering the unseen world which neither Jamie, nor even the united strength of Jamie, Murtagh, Dougal, Rupert and Angus could tear apart. Only real delusion, hysteria, obsession, and Jamie & Claire’s romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory that is Fraser’s Ridge. Is it real? Hello?! Earth to Virginia?!?! In all this world there is nothing else real and abiding!!! (Next time before I respond to a letter, I will not put so much Fireball in the eggnog.)
No Fraser’s Ridge! You are kidding me, right? Thank God! it exists and it exists forever! A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of Outlander fans!
So, there you have it, Virginia! Now, go tell your daffy friends and family to get a grip because you saw it on Outlander North Carolina and, Virginia … Merry Christmas!